Rest in Christ.
PRAYER BEFORE MEDITATION.
My God, I firmly believe that Thou art here present. I acknowledge that on account of my many sins I am utterly unworthy to appear before Thy sacred countenance. Yet, confiding in Thy infinite goodness and mercy, I venture to address Thee, to call upon Thy holy name, and meditate upon Thy commandments, in order that I may acquire a better knowledge of Thy holy will, and accomplish it with more fidelity. Wherefore enlighten my understanding that I may perceive what I ought to do or leave undone for the promotion of Thy glory and my own salvation; at the same time excite my will, that I may repent with my whole heart of my past sins, and resolve for the future to do all that Thou requirest of me. Grant me above all to know Jesus, my divine Teacher and Guide, more clearly, that I may love Him more dearly, and consequently labor, struggle and suffer with greater generosity and self-sacrifice in imitation of His example. Holy Mary, Mother of God and my Mother, show Jesus to me now, and let me study thy divine Son to the salvation of my soul. Holy Guardian Angel, keep far from me all distracting thoughts; my patron saint, come to my assistance. Amen.
Rest in Christ.
Come to me, all you that labour and are burdened, and I will refresh you. (Matt. xi, 28.)
CONSIDER FIRSTLY who those are who labour and who reap no reward, but merely feel the weight of their labours. They are all those who seek consolations in the pleasures and goods of this world. They labour to gain riches and to gratify their own inclinations, and yet they are never satisfied. What is worse, after so great labours they never attain to what they desire and long for: they labour and are burdened.
APPLICATION. Not few is the number of such unhappy souls. They labour to gain a name and glory, or to acquire greater ease, or to gratify their own inclinations; and they find themselves burdened by unrest, by contradictions, by remorse of conscience and ever entangled in a multitude of sins. Unhappy you if ever you become such a one as these.
AFFECTIONS AND RESOLUTIONS. Behold the man that made not God his helper. (Ps. li, 9.)
CONSIDER SECONDLY that Jesus Christ invites you to come to Him in order to escape from these distresses, and to be relieved and refreshed. Come to me, all you that labour and are burdened, and I will refresh you. Oh words that should make your heart expand with joy and tenderness! If Jesus invites you and promises to console you what do you fear? Perhaps you fear that He does not really mean what He says, when He thus so lovingly calls you. Or you fear that He, Who is the fount and source of all consolation and of comfort, is unable to keep His promise.
APPLICATION. Leave off once and for all seeking after the consolations of the world, and have recourse quickly to Jesus Christ, and by thus acting you will be speedily delivered from the burden. The burden shall be taken from off thy shoulder. (Isa. x, 27.) Observe who those are who live most peacefully and most contentedly. Are they those who seek anxiously after worldly consolations, or not rather those who wish not or seek not any consolations except those to be found at the feet of Jesus, their crucified Saviour.
AFFECTIONS AND RESOLUTIONS. This is my rest for ever and ever: here will I dwell, for I have chosen it. (Ps. cxxxi, I4.)
CONSIDER THIRDLY that the refreshment and rest which Jesus Christ will give you is of two kinds, the one negative and the other positive. The negative consists in delivering you from the burden of labours and afflictions, and from the search of consolations which are not to be found in the good things of this world but in God alone. The positive consists in causing you to feel effects quite contrary to those which led you to pursue the consolations of this world. For in seeking earthly consolations you became restless and embittered, and your conscience was burdened and you were in danger of being eternally lost.
APPLICATION. Seek consolations then only at the feet of Jesus. He will give you the quiet of a good conscience; He will re-invigorate you with the strength of grace; and He will crown you with joy in the hope held out to you of the reward of perfect rest in paradise. Is not all this enough to make you accept His invitation and promptly go to Jesus Christ?
AFFECTIONS AND RESOLUTIONS. The Most High hath sanctified His own tabernacle. God is in the midst thereof, it shall not be moved. (Ps. xlv, 5, 6.)
PRAYER AFTER MEDITATION.
My God, I give Thee heartfelt thanks for all the graces and all the light Thou hast conferred on me during this meditation. Pardon me all the negligence and the distractions of which I have been guilty, and give me strength to carry out the resolutions that I have made. Fortify me, that from henceforth I may diligently practise this virtue . . . avoid this fault . . . perform this action . . . to Thy honor. Help me to do this, sweet Virgin Mary; and if I ever forget my good resolutions, I entreat my Angel Guardian to recall them to my memory. Amen.
August Devotion: The Most Pure Heart of Mary
Virtues to practice: The sanctification of our actions, diligence, edification, fidelity in little things
O Heart of Mary, Mother of God, and our Mother; Heart most worthy of love, in which the adorable Trinity is ever well pleased, worthy of the veneration and love of all the angels and of all men; Heart most like to the Heart of Jesus, of which thou art the perfect image; Heart full of goodness, ever compassionate toward our miseries; deign to melt our icy hearts and grant that they may be wholly changed into the likeness of the Heart of Jesus, our divine Saviour. Pour into them the love of thy virtues, and kindle in them that divine fire with which thou thyself dost ever burn. In thee let Holy Church find a safe shelter; protect her and be her dearest refuge, her tower of strength, impregnable against every assault of her enemies. Be thou the way which leads to Jesus, and the channel, through which we receive all graces needful for our salvation. Be our refuge in time of trouble, our solace in the midst of trial, our strength against temptation, our haven in persecution, our present help in every danger, and especially at the hour of death, when all hell shall let loose against us its legions to snatch away our souls, at that dread moment, that hour so full of fear, whereon our eternity depends. Ah, then most tender virgin, make us to feel the sweetness of thy motherly heart, and the might of thy intercession with Jesus, and open to us a safe refuge in that very fountain of mercy whence we may come to praise Him with thee in paradise, world without end. Amen.
An indulgence of 7 years once on any day of the month; A plenary indulgence on the usual conditions, if this act of devotion is repeated daily for entire month (Apostolic Brief Dec. 21, 1901)
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